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The federal government’s decision to release small numbers of refugees from detention to live in the community while their claims are assessed will be welcome news to many refugees that have suffered under its mandatory detention policy. In the lead up to the ALP national conference over December 3-4, Labor’s refugee policy has been in the spotlight.
In the face of a broad and growing campaign, rhetoric from the NSW government is beginning to match some of the risks when it comes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining. This begs the question: what is being done when it comes to CSG? In an interview about CSG mining on December 1, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell told 2GB’s Alan Jones: “I don’t intend to allow — particularly after the drought we went through over a decade — mining or any other activity to threaten water resources.
Australian energy company Santos has met determined resistance to its coal seam gas operations in Australia. It is less well known that Santos was one of the companies responsible for a monumental environmental catastrophe in Indonesia in 2006. The accident drowned villages in the Porong subdistrict of Sidoarjo in mud, and displaced up to 50,000 people.
Victorian nurses have decided to take their claims directly to the community, after negotiations with the Baillieu Victorian government over their enterprise bargaining agreement broke down yet again. Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick told a mass meeting on December 2: “The government negotiators staged a ‘breakdown’ in negotiations last night to bait nurses and midwives into taking further industrial action that would pull the last forced arbitration trigger.
The phrase “organise, don’t agonise” has become a bumper sticker, a popular slogan in the feminist movement, the title of many speeches, conferences and newsletters. African-American civil rights activist Florence Rae Kennedy coined the term. Gloria Steinem quoted her in Ms magazine in 1973. Since then, this powerful slogan has circumnavigated the world many times — used by many activists and movements. It has lasted because the slogan reasonates strongly with the condition of the oppressed, exploited and persecuted.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s imminent $90,000 pay rise is more than twice the estimated median wage of all Australian full-time or part-time employees, aged 15 years or over. More than half of all Australian workers have a yearly pay packet smaller than the PM’s expected pay rise. The $40,000 pay rise expected for backbenchers will also be more than the total wage of many Australian workers.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has condemned the federal government's planned increase in the “efficiency dividend” imposed on the Australian Public Service. “Efficiency dividend” is a euphemism for funding cut. In the 2012-13 financial year the “dividend” will be 4%, based on the assumption the public service will increase its efficiency by 4% during the year. Such cuts have been continuing for many years. In 2011-2012 the “efficiency dividend” is 1.5%.
Occupy began as a movement against the effects and causes of the global economic crisis and against the austerity measures pushed by governments for the benefit of the 1%. In Australia, many people were inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York and the global movement it had sparked. When an international call for action on October 15 came out, we responded, and began our own occupations here.
For years the Ageing, Disability and Home Care department (ADHC) has run a “Don’t DIS My Ability” campaign to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In partnership with Accessible Arts, an arts program has been designed to supposedly boost and foster arts and disability practice in New South Wales. These initiatives coincide with talk at the national level about social inclusion policies targeting those classed as disadvantaged in the workforce. The federal government appears to be setting ambitious goals for greater participation and integration into the workforce.
The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released the statement below on December 2. * * * “During the Durban Climate Conference all countries, including Australia, must take real action to protect the world's forests and deliver real reductions in carbon pollution,” said Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) spokesperson Peter Campbell.

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